Page 59 - Australian Defence Magazine Aug 2019
P. 59
By Martyn Brown Published by Australian Scholarly Publishing
RRP $49.95 in paperback ISBN 9781925801682
This book seeks to examine NZ’s military engagement in Greece and Crete in WWII,
the political environment in which its military became involved, and the subsequent official remembrance by NZ historians of that engagement. As Martyn Brown writes, ‘NZ clearly had a more complex
By Peter Brune
Published by Harper Collins RRP $49.99 in hardcover ISBN 9781460756515 Australian troops had been involved in WWI since Gallipoli but it was not until August 1918 that the AIF confronted the German forces as a ‘united corps, under its own experienced, astute leadership and commanded by an Australian general’. In a 100 day period between early August
wartime interconnection
with Greece than what is celebrated in official memory.’ He concedes though that ‘Diplomatic interest in a democratic Greece are
at one end of a spectrum
of obscurity'. A military dictatorship was followed by invasion and occupation by Germany and its allies. NZ, along with Australian and British troops, entered this arena. NZers outnumbered Australians in the makeup
of the ANZAC forces defending Greece. According to Brown, NZ official state memory is selective in how
it records NZ’s involvement, emphasizing some things and ignoring the unpalatable. It also conceals its assertiveness with Britain over the latter’s Greek policies. Brown concedes that official memory-making of war requires ‘moral simplicity’, which is what he seeks to demonstrate.
and November 1918, the Australian Corps consisting of five elite divisions under the command of Lieutenant General Sir John Monash played a critical role in forcing Germany to the negotiating table. Brune believes that
it was the emergence of Australian nationalism that resulted in the unification
of the five divisions and the right to fight under their
own command. This rise in national feeling was borne out of the bitterness and frustration, and the perceived waste of Australian lives
at the battles of Fromelles, Pozieres, Bullecourt and Passchendaele. Brune has made good use of personal diaries in charting this campaign. In his concluding chapter, he concedes that, while Gallipoli might be widely credited with the birth of a nation, it is the 100 days that ‘mark the military coming of age of the first AIF’.
By Mark Dapin
Published by New South RRP $32.99 in paperback ISBN 9781742236360
Mark Dapin acknowledges that this book owes much to its predecessor, The Nashos’ War (2014). Whereas he had previously merely identified the myths, in this later book he tries to explain what they mean and how they came to be. Popular myths that have stood the test of time include returning soldiers not being accorded a welcoming home parade until 1987. Not true.
By Julie Suares Published by Melbourne University Press
RRP $49.99 in paperback ISBN 9780522874709 When I looked at Julie Suares’ biography – among other things, she has been a shearers’ cook, farm hand and library technician – I couldn’t help but reflect that the former labourer and train driver turned Prime Minister Ben Chifley would have approved of
Welcome home parades were held on a regular basis in various capital cities, the first being Sydney in June 1966 before an estimated crowd
of 300,000. Another myth: servicemen were returned from Vietnam by air in the middle of the night to avoid anti-war protestors. Not true. The majority of aircraft had been chartered from Qantas and were also required for commercial daytime flights. Another myth concerned national serviceman
serving in Vietnam. Chief of General Staff General John Witton, finally persuaded that national service was necessary, would not countenance a situation whereby men were given the option of volunteering to fight. In this second volume on Australia’s Vietnam involvement, Dapin has produced a fascinating
look at a unique period in Australia’s history.
Suares as a chronicler of his achievements. His early life was tough; his education limited. He was truly a self- educated man. Repeatedly throughout this book we
see Chifley taking every opportunity to expand his understanding of economics, international affairs and Australia’s immediate neighbourhood of Asia- Pacific. He believed diplomacy should trump war in resolving disputes. His response to Percy Spender’s accusation that his government had ignored the dangers posed
by the Malayan emergency, for example, demonstrates his thinking: he accepted that ‘Asian nationalist aspirations were based on a desire for independence from European colonial rule’. He understood the old colonial order was ending. Like other reviewers, I am left wondering where we might find a leader of his like today. | August 2019 | 59

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